Directory of Legal Services Staff
Director of Legal Services
202.939.7628 | e-mail
Daniel Bruner is Director of Legal Services. At Whitman-Walker, his practice has concentrated on discrimination in employment and health care; on insurance and employee benefits; and on privacy issues. Prior to joining Whitman-Walker’s staff in 1995, Dan was a partner at the Washington, DC, law firm of Spiegel & McDiarmid. While at Spiegel & McDiarmid, he was a Whitman-Walker volunteer attorney for five years, and also worked on pro bono projects with the Pennsylvania AIDS Law Project and Lambda Legal.
Dan received his law degree, magna cum laude, and a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Michigan. He received a B.A., summa cum laude, from Rice University, and studied philosophy at the graduate level at the University of California at Berkeley. Dan is the author of the Forward in David W. Webber et al., AIDS AND THE LAW (4th ed. 2007); and High-Risk Sexual Behavior By Persons Living With HIV/AIDS and Failure to Disclose HIV Infection to Sex Partners: How Do We Respond? 19 J. AIDS & Public Policy 11 (2004). Between 2000 and 2005, he was on the adjunct faculty at American University’s Washington College of Law, where he taught seminars on AIDS and the Law and courses on Public Health Law. Dan is rated “AV-Preeminent” for legal ability and ethical standards by Martindale-Hubbell – the highest rating possible.
Dan currently is a past Co-Chair and current member of the Steering Committee of the District of Columbia Consortium of Legal Service Providers, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington Council of Lawyers, a voluntary bar association consisting of attorneys from every sector of the legal profession dedicated to promoting pro bono and access to justice for low-income and other disadvantaged communities. In 2007, he received the Washington Council of Lawyers’ annual President’s Award. Dan is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, and lives in DC with his partner of 30 years.
Legal Services Operations Manager
202.939.7627 | e-mail
Lee Brubaker is Operations Manager of the Legal Services Department. She supports the legal services staff by streamlining operations, coordinating pro bono activities and acting as the first line of contact for many of our clients, WWH staff and outside community supporters . Lee began her work with Whitman-Walker in 2004 as the Corporate Paralegal to the General Counsel and has been with the Legal Services Department since December 2007. Before coming to Whitman-Walker, Lee was a Paralegal at Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner. She received her B.A. in Sociology/ Anthropology from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in 2000 and her Masters in Paralegal Studies from The George Washington University in 2009. Lee and her family live in Washington, DC.
Trans Legal Services Fellow
Arli Christian is a 2013-2014 Legal Fellow with Whitman-Walker Legal Services. She is working primarily with our Name and Gender Change Clinic, helping clients navigate the complicated name and gender change process in DC, Maryland and Virginia. Arli also assists transgender clients with identity document concerns related to immigration status, educational records, insurance needs, and more. Through her fellowship Arli is concurrently working with the National Center for Transgender Equality, where she advocates for modernized name and gender change policies across various jurisdictions. She is also a member of the steering committee of Trans Legal Advocates of Washington (TransLAW), our partner organization in running the Name and Gender Change Clinic. During law school Arli interned with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Washington Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights, the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, and Whitman-Walker Legal Services. She received her BA from Wesleyan University in 2004 and her JD from American University, Washington College of Law in May 2013. She speaks English and Spanish.
202.939.7622 | e-mail
Paloma Ellis is the Legal Assistant for Legal Services and Public Benefits. In her role, she conducts legal intake for Spanish speaking clients, staffs the public benefits phone line, and provides administrative and programmatic support to the department. She is a DC native who returned to the area after completing her BA at Dartmouth College with a major in Studio Art and a minor in Geography. Following graduation, she completed a fellowship teaching English in Mexico; she is fluent in Spanish and also speaks French.
202.939.7691 | e-mail
Leora Gabry is a Staff Attorney. In her role as a Staff Attorney, Leora represents clients in a variety of legal issues and oversees the Social Security disability initial applications clinic. Prior to joining Legal Services, she was a Legal Fellow at the Children’s Law Center here in Washington, DC. She received her law degree from Columbia University in May 2012 and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2007. During law school, Leora worked with medical legal partnerships in New York through the LegalHealth division of the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG). She also assisted victims of domestic violence with family law and immigration matters as a law clerk with the Matrimonial and Family Law Group at NYLAG. Leora is a member of the New York and Massachusetts Bars, and is in the process of becoming a member of the DC Bar.
202.939.7676 | e-mail
Liz Kaplan became a Whitman-Walker Staff Attorney in March 2010. She received her law degree from the University of California at Berkeley in May 2009. In the fall of 2009 she was a Berkeley Law School Post-Graduate Fellow with Whitman-Walker Legal Services. In law school Liz achieved a number of distinctions, including serving on the staff of the California Law Review and the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice. As a law clerk she worked on HIV legal issues at the East Bay Community Law Center in Berkeley. She also was a law clerk/intern at the U.S. Department of Justice Disability Rights Section and the ABA Commission on Immigration. Prior to starting law school Liz worked as a legislative assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, on the Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign, and as an intern in the office of Congressman Barney Frank. Liz is a member of the Virginia Bar and District of Columbia Bar.
Director of Public Benefits & Senior Managing Attorney
202.939.7662 | e-mail
Erin Loubier is Director of Public Benefits and Senior Managing Attorney. Her area of expertise is public benefits, including Social Security disability law, Medicare and Medicaid, and local DC, Maryland and Virginia public benefits. She oversees Whitman-Walker’s public benefits and client eligibility program and represents clients in complex public benefit matters at all levels of appeal. Erin also oversees pro bono lawyer and staff training and resource materials that Whitman-Walker produces. She is active in systemic reform efforts involving Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare Part D, D.C.’s Office of Administrative Hearings, and access to healthcare generally. Erin is a member of the DC Healthcare Ombudsman Program’s Advisory Committee and DC Medicaid Community Advisory Committee, chairs the DC Bar's Public Benefits Training series, and speaks frequently on public benefit issues throughout the metropolitan area. She is the recipient of the DC Bar Foundation’s 2011 Jerrold Scoutt Prize, presented each year to an outstanding legal services attorney.
Erin came to Whitman-Walker in 1998 after receiving her law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law. Prior to law school, she worked for three years at Equal Justice Works (formerly NAPIL) as student organizer and programs coordinator. Erin received her BA in 1992 from Drew University, and has a graduate-level certification in mediation from Syracuse University. She is a member of the District of Columbia and Maryland Bars. Erin lives in Washington, DC with her husband and their two daughters.
202.939.7625 | e-mail
Amy Nelson is the Whitman-Walker Health Legal Services Supervising Attorney. She oversees the client intake and case allocation processes, supervises staff attorneys and paralegals, and maintains her own caseload concerning access to health care, Social Security, Medicare, other public benefit programs, private insurance, transgender law, consumer rights, workplace rights and estate planning. Amy also coordinates case placement efforts with our network of pro bono attorneys and provides mentor services to D.C. Bar volunteers handling disability cases. She came to Whitman-Walker from private practice, most recently at McDermott, Will & Emery, where her work focused on criminal and civil litigation matters. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Economics, and George Washington University School of Law with honors, where she was a member of the International Law Review. Amy is a member of the District of Columbia, Maryland and New York Bars.
202.939.3557 | e-mail
Zoe Paolantonio is the full time staff attorney at Whitman-Walker Health’s Max Robinson Center in South East Washington DC. Her practice focuses on public benefits law, including applications, advocacy and appeals for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Food Stamps, Interim Disability Assistance and Temporary Aid for Needy Families. Zoe received her law degree from New England School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts and her BA from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. Prior to joining Whitman-Walker Health, Zoe served as an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Northeastern University Domestic Violence Institute, providing legal services to victims of domestic violence in the Emergency Department of Boston Medical Center. As a law student, she worked at Health Law Advocates, the leading health care access organization in Massachusetts and her article on Massachusetts health care reform legislation was published in New England Law Review. Zoe is a member of the District of Columbia and Massachusetts Bars. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C.
Equal Justice Works Fellow
Corey James Prachniak is an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by Steptoe & Johnson LLP. His fellowship is aimed at expanding legal services and developing policy initiatives to address the needs of elderly individuals who are LGBT or living with HIV/AIDS. Corey received his law degree and undergraduate degree from Georgetown University. He interned at Whitman-Walker Legal Services while a student at Georgetown Law, during which time he also served on the Legal Community AIDS Walk Task Force. While at Georgetown, he won the ABA/BNA Award for Excellence in Health Care Law and founded the HIV/AIDS Legal Justice Movement, as well as sat on the Georgetown Law Pro Bono Board. He got his start in the policy arena by working on political campaigns, including at the presidential level, as well as by interning at the Connecticut General Assembly and the United States Congress. He currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Network for LGBT Health Equity, through which he advocates for the elimination of health disparities faced by the LGBT community.
202.939.7630 | e-mail
Becky Reeve is our Intake Coordinator. She is our primary initial point of contact for callers and walk-in clients seeking legal help. Becky works extensively with the staff attorneys to gather the factual information needed to assess new cases. She also works directly with Whitman-Walker medical and mental health providers, and Medical Adherence Case Managers, to help coordinate the care of clients with legal problems and health care needs. In addition, Becky works with the D.C. Bar’s Pro Bono Program and other legal services agencies to ensure effective inter-agency referrals. She came to Whitman-Walker with prior experience in Massachusetts with Legal Services for Cape Cod and Islands, battered women’s advocacy groups, and programs for de-institutionalizing mental health patients.
Senior Staff Attorney
202.939.7695 | e-mail
Murray Scheel graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School in 2003. Prior to entering law school, he received a Bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and a Masters in social Work from the University of Maryland. After receiving his law degree, Murray clerked for the Honorable Noël A. Kramer on the D.C. Superior Court, and subsequently for the honorable Vanessa Ruiz on the D.C. Court of Appeals. He joined the firm of Karp, Frosh, Wigodsky & Norwind in 2005 as an associate, where he engaged in civil litigation until joining Whitman-Walker Legal Services in 2013. Prior to and while he was in law school, Murray was a Case Manager, and then a Public Benefits Coordinator, with community connectsions, where he worked with chronically mentally ill adults, many of whom were living with HIV. Murray is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia Bar.
Senior Staff Attorney
Heather Wydra is a senior staff attorney. Her practice focuses on employment, discrimination, insurance, and health privacy law. Prior to joining Whitman-Walker, Heather was a trial attorney in the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice. Heather was also a litigation associate at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C., and a consultant in employment law to the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO. Heather graduated from Fordham Law School cum laude, where she was the editor-in-chief of the Fordham Law Review. Following law school, Heather was a law clerk for the Hon. Thomas C. Platt in the Eastern District of New York and the Hon. Fred I. Parker in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Heather lives with her family in Washington, D.C., and is a member of the District of Columbia and New York bars.
Senior Volunteer Attorney
Jo Ann Scott is a volunteer staff attorney concentrating on immigration law. She worked for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Administrative Litigation from 1987 through 2005, specializing in electric rate litigation. From 1977 through 1986 she was in the litigation section of the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Energy, working to enforce oil price control regulations. She received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1977, and a B.S. in chemistry from Stanford University in 1961. Jo Ann is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.
Public Benefits Team
Public Benefits Manager
202.939.7692 | e-mail
Katie Nicol is Whitman-Walker’s Public Benefits Manager. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Community Health and American Humanics from LSU-Shreveport. Prior to coming to Whitman-Walker, Katie worked as an intern in the development department of NARAL Pro-Choice America. Before that she worked as a Care Coordinator at the NW Louisiana AIDS Resource Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she administered all intakes for new clients and coordinated all functions of the food pantry. Katie has also volunteered at the YWCA in Shreveport as a sexual assault advocate and on the sexual assault hot-line.
Public Benefits Navigator
202.745.6105 | e-mail
Jeffrey Bertrando is a Public Benefits Navigator. Jeff earned his B.A. in International Relations and Spanish from the Pennsylvania State University. He served as a VISTA volunteer in San Antonio, Texas, and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica, where he worked as an educator with the Ministry of Education. Later, Jeff did graduate work at the University of Texas at El Paso in Bilingual Education with the Peace Corps Fellowships Program. After two years as a bilingual teacher in Texas, Jeff taught at an international school in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and at an American school in San Jose, Costa Rica. Jeff is fluent in English and Spanish and speaks Portuguese.
Public Benefits Navigator
202.939.7621 | e-mail
Marta Cruz is a Public Benefits Navigator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs with concentrations in Latin American Studies and International Development from George Washington University. Prior to coming to Whitman-Walker, Marta worked as an intern at the Gates Millennium Scholars Foundation coordinating with scholars and external agencies to obtain scholarship information. She has also worked as a management assistant at the Federal Aviation Administration. There she assisted with diversity and inclusion initiatives targeting U.S. colleges and universities for recruitment. Marta is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Public Benefits Navigator
202.939.7689 | e-mail
Jatnna Gomez is a Public Benefits Navigator. Jatnna graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Prior to joining Whitman-Walker Health, she worked at the National Abortion Federation as a hotline operator who assisted low income women in locating and accessing health services. Jatnna has also worked as a program coordinator in a life skills group for adolescents that focused on empowering the youth and teaching them leadership skills. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Public Benefits Navigator
Chloe Shannon is a Public Benefits Navigator. Chloe received her B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice at The University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to coming to Whitman-Walker, Chloe worked at a local catering company as an administrative assistant. She has also interned with DC Law Students in Court, where she assisted in creating and organizing a file system for over 2,000 closed case files. She speaks English and Spanish.
Public Benefits Navigator
202.745.6114 | e-mail
Andrew Shell is a Public Benefits Navigator. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Georgia in 2010. Prior to joining Whitman-Walker, Andrew served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Pavlograd, Ukraine for two years, teaching English and directing seminars on HIV/AIDS education and youth development. Before Peace Corps, Andrew worked as a program director for Camp Chief Ouray in Colorado. He speaks English, Spanish, and Russian.
Public Benefits Navigator
Hannah York is a Public Benefits Navigator. She received her bachelor’s degree in International and Cultural Studies and Spanish from the University of Tampa and studied abroad in Seville, Spain. Until the end of February 2013, Hannah was in Peace Corps service in Panama where she taught English. Before Peace Corps, Hannah had several different work experiences, including working for a tour company managing groups of high school Spanish exchange students, monitoring adherence to mineral service guidelines for seismic exploration, and as a server at The Wine Exchange. Hannah speaks English and Spanish.
Above Photos by: Scott Henrichsen, Shaun Schroth & Ana Spoljaric